Common Short Code

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What Does Common Short Code Mean?

A Common Short Code (CSC) is a short numeric code used to access certain mobile services via the transmission of special Short Message Service (SMS) messages. A CSC is usually three to six digits in length and designed for quick and easy mobile device entry.


Supported by all major carriers, CSCs suit a variety of interactive purposes, including ordering ringtones or making charity donations.

Techopedia Explains Common Short Code

A CSC may be obtained from the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA), Mobile Application Service Providers (MASP) and wireless carriers. A CSC application must be submitted to the appropriate wireless carrier for processing.

CSC-based campaign development may be expedited by tapping into MASPs and their knowledge of the intricacies related to CSC campaigns. MASP services range from small projects to full-fledged campaign management.

CSCs are usually available as either of the following types:

  • Random: Upon campaign application approval, a random CSCA number.
  • Vanity: A user selects a number from the CSCA online database.

In a typical CSC campaign, subscribers enter SMS message text that is sent to the specified short code. For example, the text may specify a ringtone name or account number.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.